New project helps York children with emotional and mental health needs

 To support teachers concerned about children and young people with emerging mental health needs, a new well-being pilot project has been set up in York to explore how to respond to this challenge.

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The well-being pilot project is a joint initiative between City of York Council, Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service (CAMHS) and two clusters of schools, which aims to strengthen the emotional and mental health support arrangements for children and young people.

Alongside the idea that children and young people’s mental health is everybody’s business, additional mental health capacity and expertise is being provided to schools by new School Wellbeing Workers.

These workers will focus on providing training, offering support and advice to pastoral staff, and delivering individual and group work to children and young people.

Although the health and wellbeing of children in York is known to be generally better than England’s average, the city’s multi-agency Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS) Executive recognises the importance of giving high quality advice and support as soon as concerns emerge. This exciting project will ensure support is available from confident and capable professionals within the school community, as part of a co-ordinated response that cuts across organisational boundaries.

Trevor Burton, Head teacher of Millthorpe School, said: “I am delighted that we are working together to increase the capacity and expertise within schools to support children and young people with social, emotional and mental health issues more effectively. We know that happy children and young people learn and achieve better in schools, but schools need more help to respond to the increasing complexity of the issues that are presented by children, young people and their families.”

Councillor Jenny Brooks, City of York Council’s Executive Member for Education, Children and Young People, said: “We are committed to securing good emotional and mental health for children and young people, to allow them to develop the resilience to cope with whatever life throws at them.

“Using a wide range of professional expertise available in the city, early identification and intervention will help most achieve their potential and will reduce the likelihood or severity of significant mental health problems and costly interventions later in life. I’m very pleased this pilot is underway and to see the commitment of those schools involved.”

The pilot will run until July 2016 and the learning will be used to inform the approach and model that we anticipate will be in place across all school clusters from the start of the new academic year in September 2016.

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